An E-Newsletter from the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown
February 2011
Volume III  Number  2
Welcome to the February edition of E-vangelist, a monthly E-Newsletter from the Communications Office of the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown.  What a busy and wonderful time in our Diocesan Church! Preparations are well underway for the Ordination and Installation of Bishop-Elect Mark L. Bartchak. The Ordination Steering Commitee, made up of Diocesan priests and directors, has been meeting regularly to plan the historic event. Lent is also quickly approaching, and we are getting ready for many events outlined in this E-Newsletter. As we eagerly prepare to welcome our new Bishop, may the Lord bless him, the Faithful of Altoona-Johnstown and our upcoming season of Lent.
In This Issue
Ordination Plans Continue
Chrism Mass Moved
School Choice Update
Agencies Seeking Help
Ecumenical Service
Day of Prayer
News and Notes
Ministry Quicklinks
Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown
Independent Catholic Foundation for the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown
Pennsylvania Catholic Conference
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

March guests on Bishop Joseph's Can We Talk? segment on Proclaim!:


  • March 6  -- New Mount Aloysius College President Dr. Thomas Foley discusses his goals for his new position. 
  • March 13 -- Sister Patti Rossi, CSJ, and Eileen Bogel, both of the Diocesan Mission Office, talk about the Lenten tradition Operation Rice Bowl.
  • March 20  --   Our "People from the Pew" series spotlights John and Terry Carnicella of Saint Mary Parish  in Altoona. The Carnicellas talk about the many ministries with which they are involved.
  • March 27-- Teen Talk co-hosts Samantha Slezak and Adam Wood interview Bishop Joseph about the transition to a new Bishop and other issues.


Proclaim! airs every Sunday at 5:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. on WWCP TV FOX 8. The live Mass from Saint John Gualbert Cathedral in Johnstown airs at 11:00 a.m. on WWCP and is rebroadcast at 9:00 p.m. on Atlantic Broadband Channel 9 in the Altoona area.

Coming up in the February  
28 edition of The Catholic Register:

the catholic register
  • Local clergy give their thoughts on a new iPhone app that is supposed to help the Faithful prepare for the Sacrament of Confession.
  • Eighteen Diocesan parishes are benefiting financially after the suppression of two parishes.
Bishop's Random Comments
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Don't miss Bishop Joseph's blog Random Comments on the Diocesan website at www.ajdiocese.org.
Bishop Joseph writes about a variety of issues and invites readers to e-mail him questions and comments.



Listen to Radio Maria on WHHN 88.1 FM or go to the Diocesan website at www.ajdiocese.org and click on the Radio Maria button on the right.

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invitesOrdination Plans Continue

The Steering Committee for the Ordination and Installation of Bishop-Elect Mark L. Bartchak continues its work leading up to the April 19 celebration. The Mass will begin at 2:00 p.m. at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in Altoona. Cardinal Justin Rigali, Archbishop of Philadelphia; Bishop Joseph; and Bishop Donald Trautman of the Diocese of Erie will serve as consecrators.


 As of mid-February, organizers have made the following announcements:
  • Only invited guests with a ticket will be admitted to the Ordination and the reception that follows. Those receiving an invitation include bishops from around the country; priests and religious from the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, the Diocese of Erie, and elsewhere around country; staff of the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown and the Diocese of Erie; ecumenical leaders; elected officials; and the family and friends of Bishop-Elect Bartchak. Due to the limited amount of seating in the Cathedral, tickets will not be available to the general public.

    The Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown continues to work with local and national television and radio stations to broadcast the Ordination and Installation Mass live. The local Radio Maria affiliate, WHHN 88.1 FM, will carry the broadcast. Television stations are considering the logistics of a three-hour live production and have not yet officially announced if they plan to broadcast the Mass.

  • An Evening Prayer Service will be held on April 18, at 5:00 p.m., at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament. The event, which is open to the public, is an opportunity for the Faithful to join Bishop-Elect Bartchak in prayer the evening before his Ordination and Installation. The Bishop-Elect will gather privately with clergy following the service.
  • A commemorative edition of The Catholic Register will be published on April 11. The special edition offers parishes, religious organizations, civic groups and businesses an opportunity to congratulate and welcome the new Bishop. For advertising information, please contact The Catholic Register at (814) 695-7563. The deadline is March 14.

Various subcommittees are meeting regularly to work out details involving invitations, transportation, security and hospitality. For updates on the Ordination plans, please go to the Diocesan website at www.ajdiocese.org.


[Photo: (left to right) Jeanne Duffy, Joan Noonan and Teresa Stayer prepare invitations for the Ordination and Installation of Bishop-Elect Bartchak.] 

New VestmentsChrism Mass Moved to Holy Thursday
Due to the Ordination and Installation of Bishop-Elect Mark Bartchak, the Diocese has announced that this year's Chrism Mass will be moved from Monday of Holy Week to April 21 -- Holy Thursday. The Mass will be held at 11:00 a.m. at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in Altoona. The change will give the new Bishop the opportunity to celebrate this special Liturgy with his priests and the Faithful of the Diocese. The Chrism Mass includes the blessing of the oils - the Oil of the Sick, the Oil of Catechumens and the Sacred Chrism - that will be distributed to parishes throughout the Diocese for use during the next year. The Oil of the Sick is used for consecrating the sick or dying. The Oil of Catechumens is used for those preparing for baptism. The Sacred Chrism is used for baptisms, confirmations, clergy ordinations and the consecration of a church. The Chrism Mass is also an opportunity for all priests in the Diocese to renew their commitment to their vocation. [Photo: Priests of the Diocese gather at the 2010 Chrism Mass.]


School ChoiceSchool Choice Update
The State Senate Education Committee debated school choice legislation on February 16.  Known as Senate Bill 1, the measure was introduced by Senators Jeffrey Piccola and Anthony Williams. If the legislation passes, the state would take the money it would spend to educate a child in the public school system and give it to low-income parents who qualify in the form of vouchers. Parents could then use that money to educate their child in the school of their choice -- public or private. The bill, which would be phased in over three years, would benefit taxpayers because non-public school tuition in Pennsylvania -- especially in the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown -- is much less than what the state pays to educate a child in the public school system. The difference would right back into the state coffers. We urge everyone to contact their state lawmakers as soon as possible and encourage them to support this legislation. For more information about Senate Bill 1, please go to the Diocesan website at www.ajdiocese.org.

Catholic Charities, SVDP Seeking Help
Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown and the Saint Vincent de Paul Society are asking for the community's help as they try to keep residents warm. Due to the economy, rising fuel costs and the extremely cold weather this winter, more and more people - especially families with children and the elderly - are turning to the agencies for help with heating costs. This is particularly the case in Cambria County, which has experienced colder and snowier conditions than other parts of the region. The county continues to battle high levels of poverty and unemployment. As a result, the Johnstown office of Catholic Charities has now exhausted its entire 2010-2011 budget allocation for emergency aid.  Forty percent of the budget was spent on helping residents cover winter heating costs. The office is tapping into reserve funds and must decrease the amount of assistance provided to individuals and families in need. The Johnstown office will continue providing emergency assistance, but it will need additional donations from the community to meet the challenges for the remainder of the year.

To donate to Catholic Charities:            Donations for SVDP can be sent to:
Altoona office -- (814) 944-9388                 The Society of St. Vincent de Paul
Johnstown office -- (814) 535-6538           927 Franklin Street
Bellefonte office -- (814) 353-0502             Johnstown, PA  15905

Ecumenical Service February 2011Ecumenical Service
Bishop Joseph hosted the second of two annual Ecumenical Services on February 13 at Saint John Gualbert Cathedral in  Johnstown.  Monsignor Raymond Balta, Pastor of Saint Mary Byzantine Church in Johnstown, gave the exhortation. Monsignor Balta encouraged those gathered for prayer to speak about the goodness of God. "At a time when selfishness and self-centeredness seem to be the goal of life, someone has to say something about compassion," he said. "Someone has to say something about right and wrong. If you and I say nothing, then who will?" Bishop Joseph, along with Metropolitan Nicholas Smishko of the Orthodox tradition and Bishop Gregory Pile of the Lutheran tradition, sponsor two Ecumenical Services each year. Bishop Pile hosted the first one on January 30 at Saint Luke Luthernan Church in Centre Hall. Monsignor Tim Stein will have more on the Ecumenical Service in the February 28 edition of The Catholic Register. [Photo: Bishop Joseph and other ecumenical leaders pray at the February 13 service.]

Gallitzin PhotoDay of Prayer

March 1 will be a Diocesan Day of Prayers for Penance and Renewal. The date is the anniversary of the appointment of the Servant of God Demetrius Gallitzin to serve as pastor of the Catholic settlement in Loretto. The appointment came from Bishop John Carroll, the first Bishop in our country. All are encouraged to attend Mass, read scripture, pray the Rosary or the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, and pray the following prayer: 


Gracious God, we remember the beginnings of the Catholic faith here in these Allegheny Mountains with the Servant of God Demetrius Gallitzin. Forgive our sins and show us your mercy. Give us that evangelizing spirit that filled our holy priest, Father Gallitzin. May the Gospel continue to spread in our midst. Inspire us to be ministers of the good news of Jesus Christ who is Lord for ever and ever. Amen. 


News & Notes from Around the Household of God 

Theology on Tap


The Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown Office of Campus Ministry will sponsor a Theology on Tap series each Monday in March. Theology on Tap is a speaker/discussion series for young adults age 18-39. The sessions are held in a restaurant or tavern as a way of reaching out to young adults where they gather. The sessions will be held from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at PJ's Tavern, 7874 Admiral Peary Highway, Cresson. There is no charge to attend. Complimentary appetizers will be served. The schedule of dates, topics and speakers is as follows: 


  • March 7 -- Toxic Religion: Why Peple Join Cults; Dr. Anthony Dragani, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, Philosophy and Theology, Mount Aloysius College
  • March 14 -- Let's Break the Rules: Talking Politics and Religion; Sister Nancy Donovan, RSM, Director of Campus Ministry, Mount Aloysius College
  • March 21 -- Are Catholics Really Christian?; Jeff Philbin, Saint Benedict Parish
  • March 28 -- Stump the Priest (Monsignor Michael Becker and other priests field questions from young adults)

For more information about Theology on Tap, please go to the Diocesan website at www.ajdiocese.org.





Three Roman Missal workshops presented by the Diocesan Liturgy Office with the Diocesan Litrugy Committee are scheduled for three Saturdays March for those in leadership positions in their parishes. That includes parish pastoral council members; parishioners involved with Sunday Mass, i.e., liturgical ministers, especially musicians; teachers and catechists. The workshops are as follows:

  • March 12 -- Saint John Gualbert Cathedral Activity Center, Johnstown
  • March 19 -- Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament Hall, Altoona
  • March 26 -- Our Lady of Victory Parish Activities Center, State College

Each workshop is from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.; Registration at 9:30 a.m. Participants MUST register with their parish as soon as possible. Workshops for all the Faithful will be offered in the fall.





Curve 2011 logo

Mark your calendars -- The annual Faith Day at the Blair County Ballpark will be held on Sunday, July 10, 2011. The event includes Mass on the field at 3:00 p.m., the Parade of Parishes, and the Altoona Curve versus the Bowie Baysox at 6:00 p.m. This event makes a great parish outing. More details to come.







Upcoming Events 

February 21
Presidents' Day
Diocesan Offices Closed


February 24; 5:00 p.m.

AACC Remarkable Signs of Hope Banquet
Greater Altoona Career and Technology Center


March 6
Junior High Youth Day
Bishop Carroll Catholic High School


March 9

Ash Wednesday


March 13
Rite of Election
2:00 p.m. at Saint John Gualbert Cathedral; 7:00 p.m. at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament


Prayer to Saint Michael

Saint Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle, be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust into Hell Satan and the other evil spirits who prowl about the world for the ruin of souls. Amen.
Contact Information
E-vangelist is published by the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown Office of Communications
Mr. Tony DeGol
Secretary for Communications
925 S. Logan Boulevard
Hollidaysburg, PA  16648
(814) 695-5579